IRI Panel: Speaker Ryan and Governor Kasich Call for Robust Republican Internationalism

Yesterday, Gov. John Kasich and Speaker Paul Ryan called for robust American leadership and engagement at an event hosted by IRI in Cleveland, OH. 

They joined leading members of the Republican party, including IRI Board Member Senator Tom Cotton, as well as Senators David Perdue and Joni Ernst, for a discussion on the future of internationalism in the Republican party.

Gov. Kasich opened the session by expressing his dismay at the “rising tide of isolationism,” arguing “We all have an obligation to make sure that America leads the way to building a world that gives every human being the opportunity to realize their God-given potential.” This sentiment was reinforced by Speaker Ryan, who called on Republican leaders to “…Stand up for our belief in self-determination, human rights and democracy. We have to build the capacity to export these ideas—using hard power and soft power.”

During one panel discussion, former governor of Puerto Rico – and IRI International Advisory Council Member – Luis Fortuño addressed the importance of supporting democratic development in Latin America, noting “Freedom is the aspiration of ever man and woman—that’s not unique to us. What is unique to us is that we are still perceived as a beacon of light.” Sen. David Perdue and Gen. Richard Hawley rounded out the panel conversation about democracy development, economic prosperity and humanitarian values that was led by Congressman Peter Roskam.  

Senators Tom Cotton and Joni Ernst, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn joined Rep. Roskam for a second panel exploring the interplay between military and economic strength. Lt. Gen Flynn offered a sober assessment of the terrorist threat, arguing that violent extremism will continue to threaten U.S. security for years to come. The panelists agreed that U.S. policy must show military strength in order to advance peace and security. “We face an enemy committed to our destruction,” said Sen. Cotton. “We are freedom’s home and defender, and we can give them no quarter.”  

Speaker Ryan wrapped up the event with a passionate call for American engagement: “Whether in Europe with NATO, in the Pacific, in the Middle East, in confronting terrorism, or making sure we can trade with one another, none of these things can happen without American leadership,” said Speaker Ryan.  He concluded by noting his approval of IRI’s work: “I’ve been a fan of IRI for many years,” said Speaker Ryan. “What you’re doing to confront Russian propaganda, Islamist radicalism and to expand democracy is what we take leadership from.”

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